Tigers Scouting Report #16: Javier Betancourt

At just 19 years of age, infielder Javier Betancourt got his first taste of full-season pro ball, as he spent all of 2014 with Class-A West Michigan. Finding success at such a young age is encouraging - does Betancourt have the tools to follow up the production?

Javier Betancourt

Vitals

Position: Second Baseman


Date of Birth: 5/8/1995 (2014 Opening Day Age: 19)
Height/Weight: 6-0/180
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2011
Ranking History: #163 (2012), #51 (2013), #27 (2014), #16 (2015)

Background: A high priority signing for the Tigers in 2011, Betancourt comes from a baseball family – nephew of Edgardo Alfonso – and posted a .333/.391/.455 line during an injury-shortened professional debut in 2012. The Tigers pushed him to the GCL in 2013 and he responded with another .333 average in 50 games before jumping to full-season ball and again finding success in 2015.

Performance:

2014 Stats - Hitting
TEAMABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSBAOBPSLG
West Michigan 55867150183654268196.269.307.344


Scouting Report

Body: Small, below-average body; thin frame; solid athlete; needs to add strength; works hard on conditioning/strength but there’s been minimal progress; some growth potential; will always have classic small MIF body.

Hit: Very good bat-to-ball skills; intelligent hitter; thinks right in step with pitchers; knows strike zone; sprays the ball; contact is soft and lacks impressive exit velocity; very little power projection given contact oriented approach and lack of strength projection; potential high average hitter with some OBP skills; contact is easy; looks natural in the box; calm and composed during at-bats; has a plan; potential plus hit with continued development. Grade – Present 4+/Future 6

Power: No ability to drive ball; limited physical projection hampers power projection; contact will be solid with line-drive trajectory; gap potential; power will be well below-average overall with more doubles than anything else; needs to square velocity better and drive it. Grade – 2+/3

Speed: Average down the line; gets out of the box well; not a base stealing threat on raw speed; could steal 10-12 bases with instincts and aggressiveness; needs to develop reads against more advanced pitching; very good at taking extra bases; angles on turns around bases are very advanced for his age; should sustain average run long term, but speed won’t be a weapon. Grade – 5/5

Defense: Keystone profile despite some experience on left side of dirt; lacks range for left side; should be above-average defender long term at 2B; hands are excellent; gets to most balls but range will only be average at 2B; arm is average; high-end instincts in the field; still learning nuances but has excellent projection. Grade – 5/5+

Arm: Arm doesn’t stand up on left side; fringy arm for SS or 3B; arm can play well at 2B; average arm for position; quick release; accurate; good footwork on throws; enough arm for pivot. Grade – 5/5

Other: Lacks carrying tool(s); exceptional feel for the game and instincts; gets it on the field; plays hard; plays smart; has swagger; baseball bloodlines; instincts help tools play up slightly across the board; not an impact talent but has an MLB future.



Final Word

Summary: Feel to hit could lead to hit-tool driven offensive profile; solid defender with arm to play at second base; no power projection; speed won’t be a substantial factor; tons of grit and intelligence on the field; carries himself with exceptional confidence on and off the field; instincts for the game are legitimate and can help modest tool profile play up a half tick; potential MLB future at second base.

Risk: High risk; Only low-level experience; difficult profile as a prospect; needs instincts to help tools play up to MLB level.

Projection: Full-season debut was solid but not spectacular; limited tool set that is driven by instincts and feel for the game; should reach High-A in 2015 and still 2-3 years away from MLB radar; potential fringe regular on a good club or solid starter on a second division club; lack of left-side defensive profile limits his potential as a utility option.

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